The draws for the Western and Southern Open were announced this weekend. The men’s side is fraught with potential exciting matchups. But the women’s side is not to be outdone, and Caroline Garcia might have a big say in who wins.
In the following article, I will break down by quarter how the tournament might play out. But only before the quarterfinals are played. We don’t want to spoil all the fun of who might win the entire tourney. Not yet anyway.
Last year, Caroline Garcia outserved and outhit Petra Kvitova to win the 2022 Cincinnati Open. Garcia continued that momentum through the rest of the season but has not reached similar heights this year. Can she regain her form on her favored hardcourts?
Will Caroline Garcia be a quarterfinalist at the Western and Southern Open?
First quarter: Swiatek looming for Garcia
Garcia has found herself in arguably the toughest quarter of the draw. Iga Swiatek and Marketa Vondrousova, winners of the last two majors, will try and halt Garcia’s title defense. Major champions Venus Wiliams and Sloane Stephens appear as unseeded threats, as do major finalists Danielle Collins and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Swiatek narrowly escaped a rejuvenated Collins in Montreal. Vondrousova has played well since her Wimbledon run. Garcia’s form has been wanting for the last few months, and I don’t see her getting out of such a tough section.
Predicted quarterfinalists: Swiatek, Vondrousova
Second quarter: Is Gauff’s new style here to stay?
In Washington D.C., Coco Gauff stormed through the draw on the back of a more aggressive game. Gauff’s new game style has been attributed to the guidance of her new coaching staff. In Montreal, Gauff narrowly lost out to doubles partner Jessica Pegula. Gauff’s newfound aggression will have to be on the mark should she run into last year’s finalist Kvitova or the red-hot Liudmila Samsonova.
At the top part of this quarter, major champion Jelena Ostapenko plays former World number 1 Karolina Pliskova to earn a berth against Elena Rybakina. As stacked as this section is, expect Rybakina to outhit whichever player gets through the popcorn first-round encounter.
Predicted quarterfinalists: Rybakina, Gauff
Third quarter: Pegula handed a favorable draw
Despite being interrupted by “Cotton Eye Joe,” Jessica Pegula was able to defeat world number 1 Swiatek in the Montreal semifinals. Pegula, who I perhaps foolishly listed as just an honorable mention in my countdown of players yet to win a major, has made yet another deep run on the hardcourts. Expect her to cruise through her section of the draw here.
Sakkari had a resurgent week in Washington DC to hopefully turn around a bit of a disappointing year. She will need to be sharp if she runs into Sorana Cirstea. Cirstea put together great performances at Indian Wells and Miami this year and seems to play great on American hard courts.
Predicted quarterfinalists: Cirstea, Pegula
Fourth quarter: How will Jabeur respond to Wimbledon defeat?
Cincinnati will be Ons Jabeur’s first tournament since losing in the Wimbledon final. She will likely be tested by three-time US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka or former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova.
At the very bottom of the draw, Aryna Sabalenka will try to rebound from being overpowered against Samsonova in Montreal. Sabalenka may run into the winner of the hotly anticipated match between Elina Svitolina and Caroline Wozniacki. Wozniacki, who just made her return to the tour, looked solid in Montreal. She should give Svitolina a good match.
Predicted quarterfinalists: Azarenka, Sabalenka